Easy Cherry-Almond Crisp

20170529_174601June has only just begun and temperatures here in Central Florida have already been averaging in the mid-90’s (heat index well over 100°) since early May. I enjoy the heat but it makes going outside with the kids for walks or playtime practically impossible unless it is really early or late (but late in the swamp only trades heat for mosquitoes). Seeing as outside play is limited this time of year, other activities need to fill the void. Baking happens to be one of our favorite go-to activities year round but even more so in the hot and rainy summer months.

With the A/C already working overtime to keep us cool I want a recipe that is not too extensive but also screams summer for the days we stay cooped up indoors. Along with cobblers and pies, one of the quintessential desserts served in the summer is a crisp. A crisp is quick, easy, and makes the most out of in season fresh fruit. Sweet cherries are a favorite of mine and happen to currently be in season, making them easily accessible at supermarkets. If you happen to stumble across this recipe when sweet cherries are not in season, you can easily use frozen sweet cherries with the added bonus that they will already be pitted for you.

cherryalmondcrisp1Although I love sweet cherries on their own, I prefer a balance of tart and sweet flavors in a crisp. For example, when I make apple crisp, I always use a blend of sweet and tart apples. I chose to replicate the same process by using tart dried cherries in addition to fresh sweet cherries. Before burying the cherries under a blend of oats and almonds I add a touch of cinnamon and vanilla to further enhance the flavor.

I prefer to serve this dessert warm and with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt (or ice cream), however it is just as enjoyable at room temperature or after a quick warm up in the microwave. I mean, what is not to love about a simple recipe that takes fresh in season fruit, tosses it together with some pantry staples, and bakes into a summertime stunner beckoning for a scoop of ice cream!

Note: To keep this dessert super simple, use frozen pitted cherries if you do not want to pit them yourself. If you elect to use fresh cherries (recommended) and you do not own a cherry pitter, you can pit the cherries with a straw or pastry tip. Simply insert the straw or pastry tip into the stem end of the cherry and push it through until the pit pops out on its on. This recipe yields one 8 x 8 inch baking dish of crisp. You can easily double the recipe ingredients and bake the crisp in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish to accommodate larger families/crowds.

Easy Cherry-Almond Crisp

 

Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dried Tart Cherries
  • ½ cup Boiling Water
  • 1 pound fresh (or frozen) Sweet Cherries; pitted
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Topping Ingredients:

  • 3.4 oz. (¾ cup) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Sliced Almonds
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract

 

Preparation:

  1. Combine dried cherries and boiling water in a small bowl (or pan you boiled the water in); cover and let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl combine the dried cherries (including the soaking liquid), pitted sweet cherries, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon; stir well. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Pour the cherry mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until thick and bubbly.
  5. Meanwhile, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, almonds, and salt in a medium bowl; stir well. Combine butter and almond extract in a small bowl. Drizzle butter mixture over oat mixture, stirring until moist clumps form.
  6. Remove cherry mixture from oven and sprinkle evenly with streusel topping (you may have extra topping). Bake an additional 20 minutes or until streusel is golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve warm on its own or with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt/ice cream.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEANNE KELLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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Strawberry Almond Cream Tart

20160606_110931As Spring comes to a close and we turn things over to summer on June 20, now is the time to enjoy the bountiful fresh fruit options spring provides. Luckily, here in Central Florida, you can find white tents and loaded pickup trucks all over the sides of the roadways selling fresh, in season produce and other oddities (such as gator jerky) on a typical drive home year round. This time of year, the main produce being sold at these mini markets of sorts are strawberries. Since I live rather close to Plant City (Florida), the winter Strawberry capital of the world and host of the annual festival dedicated to strawberries, it is not hard to come by an abundance of strawberries at affordable prices. With an abundance of fresh, irresistible strawberries, finding new ways to use them is not only fun but tasty.

20160606_111339-1Strawberries (and cherries) have always been my go to topping for cheesecake. As much as I love fruit glazed cheesecakes, I do have a problem with the cheesecake to fruit ratio often found in many recipes. The ratio ALWAYS leans heavily in the side of the cheesecake with minimal fresh fruit topping. I decided this needed to be changed. Why not make a cheesecake-esque dessert that focuses more on the fruit topping over the cheesecake filling.

20160606_111935The following recipe is the result of such a desire I have had since childhood. With this recipe, for once, the strawberries are the star of the show. Instead of being a simple topping, the strawberries are nestled in a thinner layer of creamy cheesecake filling and graham cracker crust, allowing them to shine. Perhaps even better than the taste itself, is the fact that this dessert will not set you back a ton of calories. In fact the tart is very low in cholesterol and high in vitamin C. It is perfect to serve at spring and summer parties and your guests will never suspect it is not as indulgent as it appears.

20160606_111325While on the topic of parties, this is also a great dessert that can be made in advance. You can easily make the crust and filling ahead of time (up to 2 days) and then assemble the dessert the day of the party. This will help free up some time to make all of the other items you may be serving that do not have the ability to be prepared in advance.

Notes:

  • This tart will easily serve 10 people. If you need it to serve more you can easily double (or triple) the recipe and divide the crust, filling, and topping evenly amongst two (or more) tart pans.
  • You may have some extra strawberries if your cartons managed to miraculously not have any squishy or moldy strawberries at the bottom.
  • Although I chose to use a 9 inch round tart pan, you may also use an 8 x 12 inch rectangular tart pan or 9 inch pie plate.

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart

Crust Ingredients:

  • 36 Honey Graham Crackers (9 sheets)
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 4 tsp. Water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. 1/3-less-fat Cream Cheese; softened (about 2/3 cup)
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract

Topping Ingredients:

  • 2 cartons Fresh Strawberries; hulled & divided
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ½ tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds; toasted

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 9 inch round removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Add the sugar, butter, and water. Pulse until the mixture is moistened. Place the crumb mixture in the prepared tart pan and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Once crust has cooled completely, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir until mixture is smooth. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the mixture evenly over the crust.
  4. To prepare the topping, place 1 cup of strawberries in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is pureed. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine strawberry puree, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 minute. Remove the glaze from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  5. Combine remaining strawberries (approximately 3 cups) and lemon juice; toss to coat. Arrange the strawberries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over the filling. Spoon the glaze evenly over the berries. Sprinkle almonds around the edge. Cover and chill tart for at least 3 hours.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Wedge)

STRAWBERRRYALMONDCREAMTARTNutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 11 Smart Points, 6 Points Plus, or 5 Traditional Points

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEAN KRESSY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Fudge-Almond Brownie Tart

3If you are a chocoholic, it is likely that you often search for quick and easy chocolate fixes beyond the candy bar. Anyone with a weakness to chocolate knows it is really hard to stop at just one piece of chocolate, hence the search for more substance. This search usually includes chocolate infused into cakes, cookies, or brownies. If you easily tire from the same old box chocolate cake or bakery cookies, then this weakness can become a very big problem. Therefore, I bring you the Fudge-Almond Brownie Tart.

1I simply adore this brownie tart for several reasons. The main reason is its rich, intense chocolate flavor that makes your indulgent side squeal with delight. The other reason is how simple it is to put together. This tart looks elegant and time-consuming but it is really simple and comes together quickly. Another plus is the richness keeps you from eating way too much. Sure it clocks in at way more calories and fat then most recipes I like to prepare but it is meant to be an indulgent treat. It is not something you keep around all the time to munch on but it serves great for when chocolate cravings peak and you need to keep them in check with something more satisfying. Even though the numbers of this appear very high, I guarantee when the chocolate cravings hit, you will consume way more calories and fat if you munch on a chocolate bar versus this tart. One slice will easily satisfy any and all chocolate/dessert cravings, whereas it will take several pieces of chocolate to get the same result. I assure you, several pieces of chocolate will easily turn into way more calories and fat (coming from experience).

2Now if you are not stressing out on a diet or are serving this for guests I suggest pairing it with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. It adds just an extra bit of indulgence and the smooth texture complements the richness and crunch of the tart. The tart will serve up to 10 guests. If you need to accommodate a larger crowd the recipe can easily be doubled. Enjoy!!!

Fudge-Almond Brownie Tart

Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray
  • ½ cup Sliced Almonds; toasted
  • 4 oz. Dark Chocolate Baking Chips (such as Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 2.25 oz. All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tbsp. Dutch Processed Cocoa; sifted
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs (large)
  • 6 tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Preparation:

  1. Move oven rack to lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray. Arrange the sliced almonds evenly in the bottom of the greased pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and butter together. Microwave approximately 30 to 60 seconds, stirring at 15 second intervals, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl add the flour, cocoa, and salt. Stir mixture with a whisk until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs. Mix with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until the mixture is pale and thick (approximately 2 minutes). Continue beating on medium speed and gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar dissolves (approximately 2 minutes). On low speed add the corn syrup and vanilla, beating until combined. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until well blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture, beating until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter in the prepared pan, spreading evenly over the sliced almonds. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the tart comes out with a few crumbs. Cool the tart in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert tart onto a serving platter and enjoy! Can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days if not serving immediately.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Wedge)

Fudge Almond Brownie Tart NutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 10 Smart Points, 7 Points Plus, or 5 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: CAROLE WALTER
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

 

Skinny Almond Apple Streusel Muffins

4If you were to poll a large group of people as to what their favorite fall flavor is you would likely receive one of two answers…pumpkin or apple. Apples not only have a sense of warmth and comfort that equates to fall but they are also in abundance this time of year. Personally, I love both flavors and if polled I would not be able to choose a favorite. Although I could never choose one over the other I will admit that I have been indulging my love of pumpkin more as of late. Almost every day I have been enjoying a pumpkin spice latte with breakfast so when I saw apples on sale at the market it was time to take a pumpkin break. Typically when I think of apples I lean towards my go-to pie and cobbler recipes but this time I sought something different. Being as busy as I am, muffins are a quick and simple way to snack on the go. Keeping that in mind I decided to develop a skinnier version of a typical apple muffin.

1Just as I had imagined, these muffins are to die for. Biting into one is like eating a coffee cake hinted with nutty almond and laced with surprise chunks of sweet apple. Although I have named these muffins they are technically cupcakes. The process in which the batter is prepared is the creaming method used for cakes (butter/sugar creamed, eggs/extracts added, followed by the dry and wet ingredients being added alternately, beginning and finishing with the dry ingredients) versus the traditional muffin method. Even though by definition these are cupcakes, the texture is somewhere between a cake and a muffin. They are not quite as light and airy as a cake but they are certainly no where near as dense as a muffin. Outside of texture they assimilate more with muffins than cupcakes. I ultimately deemed them muffins because they are riddled with fruit, have a streusel topping, and lack a thick coating of sweet frosting (outside of the thin drizzle of glaze) like that of muffins.

2After preparing these muffins I think the only thing I would change about them is the yield size. I would certainly double the recipe next time so that I have 24 instead of only 12 because they disappeared way to fast for all the labor involved. The actual preparation of the batter, streusel, and glaze is not all that laborious but the tall stack of dirty bowls and utensils the recipe leaves behind sure is. Despite the fact that these muffins are designed to be a skinnier option compared to other muffin recipes, you will likely be tempted to eat more than one, which kind of defeats the purpose. If you want to shave a few more calories you could certainly leave off the glaze and the muffins would still taste fine. I don’t recommend it since there is very little glaze that is actually drizzled on each muffin serving to make that much of a reduction but the difference in taste is noticeable. Just a tiny bit of glaze manages to round out all the flavors perfectly.

3Like many of my recent posts, these muffins can be enjoyed as a dessert or at breakfast with coffee or tea. This recipe will produce 12 servings with one muffin being equal to one serving. If you are following Weight Watchers, one muffin is 6 Points or 7 Points Plus.

Skinny Almond Apple Streusel Muffins

Batter Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 oz. Neufchatel Cheese (1/3-less-fat cream cheese); softened
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ½ tsp. Almond Extract
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ cup 2% Reduced-fat Milk
  • 1 Large Gala Apple; finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached
  • Cooking Spray

Streusel Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached
  • 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; chilled
  • 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds

Glaze Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Confectioners’ Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
  • 2 tsp. 2% Reduced-Fat Milk
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract

Formula:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine 6.75 ounces flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir with a whisk until just incorporated. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) combine the granulated sugar, cream cheese, and ¼ cup butter. Beat the mixture on high-speed until well blended. Add the almond extract, vanilla, and egg and beat with the mixer on medium speed until just combined.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt and ¼ cup milk together until incorporated. In another small bowl, toss the apple with 1 tbsp. flour until apple pieces are evenly covered. With the mixer on low-speed, add the flour mixture and yogurt mixture by alternating until combined. Begin by adding 1/3 of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the yogurt mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat the process of adding the flour mixture and then the remaining yogurt mixture, being sure to end with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Gently fold the apples into the batter. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.
  4. In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp. flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender (or fork or 2 knives), cut in the 2 tbsp. of chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the almonds. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter in the muffin tin. Bake the muffins for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the tallest muffin comes out almost clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 15 minutes on a wire cooling rack. After 15 minutes remove the muffins from the tin to cool completely.
  5. While the muffins are cooling prepare the glaze. In a small bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and almond extract. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over each cooled muffin and serve.

Nutritional Information

(1 Muffin)

AlmondAppleMuffinsNutritionLabel

Weight Watchers: 6 Points or 7 Points Plus

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: LORRAINE STEVENSKI
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

Mini Raspberry Linzertortes

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This past weekend my family celebrated a holiday. Most of you are thinking it was the obvious Cinco de Mayo celebration which, although was indeed Sunday, was not the only holiday of the day. For those of the Greek Orthodox faith it was Easter Sunday and in my house we were making Easter dinner with some Easter treats. I know what most of you may be thinking… Easter was a long time ago but that is not the case for the Greek Orthodox Christians as they follow the old calendar and not the new of the western world. Therefore, some years Easter will coincide and other years it will not. This year was one of those years.

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With that said I was in the kitchen making lamb and a slew of other yummy’s when I decided to make a new pastry for the family to try rather than the traditional Pasta Flora. I thought I would try a Linzertorte which surprisingly ended up being similar to the Pasta Flora of Greek Easter tradition. Both pastries are more crust/dough then filling, the dough’s are both lemon based, creating a smell I recognized from Pasta Flora as I prepared the Linzertorte. The only noticeable difference at that point was in texture. Lastly, both pastries are filled with a jam center.  Although these mini Linzertortes are much simpler than the traditional formulas from Austria, it is still a bit more tedious than the Greek Pasta Flora.

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The crust is made up of hazelnuts and almonds for a balanced nut flavor without bitterness. Traditional formulas ask for a hard boiled egg which is not only bizarre but time consuming. Time which a new mommy doesn’t have!!! Not to mention the hard boiled egg actually does too good a job at making the dough tender. A raw egg moistens the dough and brings it together just fine. For the final touch on the crust, cinnamon and allspice is added for spice. Once mixed up and flavored, the hardest step of the Linzertorte comes next… forming the crust in the tart pan with the rather sticky dough.

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I found the easiest way to do this is chill the dough until firm yet still malleable. Then divide the dough in two and roll each disk out between plastic wrap to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Be sure to chill the dough if at any point it gets too sticky to work with. When laying the lattice strips, be very careful as the dough softens and breaks easily. Also the jam center prevents the strips from being repositioned once initially laid down so study the instructions carefully before laying the first strip as it can be difficult to fix mistakes after beginning. If at any time the lattice strips tear or crack, don’t despair. Just piece them back together the best you can. Once you baste the dough with the cream and sugar, any cracks will be almost unnoticeable after baked. Once out of the oven, the traditional accompaniment is lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with kirsch or framboise but you can use vanilla if you do not want to use alcohol. Or of course you can skip the whipped cream and eat as is. The tarts keep very well for about 2 days at room temperature in a tightly sealed container. The following formula makes two small tarts and one pan of mini tartlets or one 11 inch Tart that serves 10 to 12.

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Mini Raspberry Linzertortes

 

 

Pastry Ingredients:

  •  1 cup (5 oz.) Unblanched Hazelnuts
  • ½ cup (2 oz.) Blanched Almonds
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Grated Lemon Zest
  • 1 ½ cups (7 ½ oz.) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 12 tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces and kept chilled
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Filling:

  • 1 ¼ cups (13 ½ oz.) Raspberry Preserves
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

Glaze:

  • 1 tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • 1 ½ tsp. Turbinado or Demerara Sugar (optional)

 

 

Formula:

  1. For the Pastry: Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 350°. Toast nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, stirring once, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Cool nuts to room temperature. Do not turn off the oven.
  2. In a food processor, pulse cooled nuts, sugar, and salt until very finely ground, about eighteen 1-second pulses. Add lemon zest and pulse to combine. Add flour, cinnamon and allspice and pulse to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the butter lumps are no larger than peppercorns and the mixture resembles coarse meal, about twelve to fifteen 1-second pulses. In a small bowl, whisk lightly to combine the egg and vanilla. With the food processor running, pour the egg mixture through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a large ball, about 10 seconds.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and press together to form a cohesive mound. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough until firm but still malleable. If not using right away you can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
  4. Cut a parchment round to fit the tart pan or pans size that you are using. Spray the bottom and sides of the tart pan(s) with nonstick cooking spray. Separate the bottom from the sides of the tart pan(s) and line the bottom with the parchment round and spray the parchment with cooking spray. Roll out the dough into disk(s) between plastic wrap to a size just shy of the edges of the pan bottom. Place the dough on the pan bottom(s) and drop into the fluted ring(s). Using hands, press the dough into an even layer until flush with the sides of the tart pan(s). Using a fork, poke holes uniformly in the dough and set the tart pan(s) on a baking sheet. Bake until beginning to brown around the edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  5. Pinch pieces of dough from the remaining disk and roll with hands on a work surface to form a  rope. Place the rope against the side of the cool prebaked tart pan(s). Repeat with additional dough (you will have some dough left over for the lattice), connecting the ends of the ropes. When the entire inside wall of the tart pan(s) have been lined, use your fingers to gently press the rope into the flutes of the pan(s), creating walls about 5/8 in. high (walls should not be as high as the rim of the tart pan(s). Set the tart pan(s) aside on the baking sheet.
  6. Reshape the remaining dough into either one large 12 in. round if using a large tart pan or two 6 in. rounds if preparing two mini tarts. Dough should be rolled to 1/8 in. thickness between two sheets of parchment sprayed with cooking spray. If the dough becomes too sticky to work with, refrigerate or freeze it until firm but still malleable. Peel off the top layer of parchment. Using a ruler sprayed lightly with cooking spray and a pastry cutter, pizza cutter, or chef’s knife, neaten the edge of the dough round(s), then cut round into strips. You will need 10 strips for each tart. Slide parchment with dough onto a baking sheet and cover loosely with parchment. Freeze for 20 minutes or refrigerate for 40 minutes until firm but not fully stiff.
  7. For the Filling: While the lattice chills, in a small bowl stir the raspberry preserves and lemon juice together. Spread the preserves evenly in the tart shell(s).
  8. To Assemble, Glaze, & Bake: Invert the dough strips sandwiched between parchment and peel off the top layer. Using an icing spatula as needed, lift one of the longest strips from the center of the round and lay across the center of the tart at the 1 o’clock/7 o’clock position. Lift the second longest strip and lay across the center of the tart at the 3 o’clock/9 o’clock position. You should have an X formed across the tart at this stage. Lift a short strip and lay across the tart parallel to the first strip, near the edge of the tart. Working clockwise, repeat the positioning of outer strips parallel to the central strips. There should now be 6 strips in place. Lift one of the remaining strips and lay across the tart parallel to and equidistant from the central and edge strips. Working clockwise, repeat until lattice is complete with 10 strips. Press any excess dough against the rim of the tart pan to neatly trim. Repeat process with remaining tart if making two mini tarts.
  9. Gently brush lattice strips with heavy cream and, if using, sprinkle with sugar. Bake tart(s) on baking sheet until deep golden brown, about 50 minutes for one large tart or 20 minutes for mini tarts. Cool on baking sheet on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  10. To Serve: Remove outer tart pan ring. Slide a thin metal spatula between parchment paper and bottom of crust to loosen. Slide tart onto serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve with flavored whipped cream if desired.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM COOKS ILLUSTRATED

 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Cherry Almond Cookies

I hope everyone survived our first wave of the holiday season and enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I made it through but I will admit was super tired and have practically slept my days away since. Being seven months pregnant and preparing an entire holiday meal did take its toll on me more than I anticipated but it sure did make a little girl in my belly surprisingly happy to eat thousands of calories. Hopefully all of you had a wonderful meal like she did without packing on too many unwanted reminders found in pounds on the scale the next day. I have fared pretty well so far but am a bit worried about Christmas… where more tempting goodies await me. Which leads me to another installment of my 2012 search for new and unique cookies to introduce to all of you readers, so that you can possibly add these new finds to your own holiday baking list.

My previous post featured the delicious Nutella confection Hazelnut Chewies. Today I introduce to you a sandwich cookie that can rival Oreo itself… the Cherry Almond Cookie. This delicious confection begins with the most simple cookie dough you will ever create and no better time than the holidays to have an extremely simple recipe when you have so many other items to be preparing. Every ingredient is dumped into the food processor and given a twirl until the dough forms. This process only takes a few short minutes and then the dough is ready to be rolled out and cut into shapes. I used a simple round cutter with a fancy edge however if you want to be more in the holiday spirit you could maybe use a holiday cutter. I wouldn’t attempt to use any complicated shapes though because the cookie is very delicate and is prone to break and probably wouldn’t hold up to any intricate designs. You are welcome to try but I don’t want to recommend anything too complex and lead you to disaster on Christmas or whatever holiday your family celebrates. Even without a holiday cookie shape, the color of the jam, whether you use cherry or my other recommended flavor, raspberry, both provide the signature red color of the holidays and will bring the festive holiday spirit to your dessert table.

With that said let’s talk a little bit more about the filling. The almond cookie is so delicate it literally melts in your mouth when you eat it. Not to take anything away from this tender confection, you want a filling that will compliment the almond flavor without overshadowing it but also manage to glue the two delicate pieces together into a sandwich. I chose a cherry preserve because cherry is a favorite flavor of mine and also compliments the almond flavor of the cookie. Another filling that I recommend if you don’t prefer cherries is raspberry jam, as it also compliments the almond flavor profile of the cookie. If you choose to follow this formula for the cherry preserves, make sure to avoid the large chunks of cherries as they will not allow you to press the cookies together firmly. If using raspberry jam then you have it a bit easier 😉 Also be sure to work quickly spreading the preserve or jam once the cookies come out of the oven. If you wait for them to cool they will not stick together as firmly and the cookies won’t absorb some of the flavor from the filling. The final touch I give the finished cookie is an ample sprinkling of sugar on top. I used vanilla sugar but regular sugar works just fine too. If you desire to use vanilla sugar, you can either by a jar carried at most specialty spice stores or make it from scratch using a vanilla bean placed in some sugar for a few days.

One final note: If you don’t have slivered almonds on hand or would rather purchase sliced, you can substitute but make sure you use 1 ½ cups sliced almonds not the 1 ¼ called for in the formula. The following formula produces approximately 2 dozen cookies.

 

 

Cherry Almond Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ¼ cups Slivered Almonds (see above for alternatives)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into ½ in. pieces; chilled
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Cherry Preserves (see above for alternatives)

 

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Process 1 cup flour and almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add ½ cup sugar and remaining flour. Process until combined. Add butter and vanilla to food processor and pulse until dough forms. 
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to ¼ in. thickness. Using a 2 in. round cookie cutter (or your desired shape: keeping in mind a larger cutter will result in a lower production amount), cut out cookies, gathering and re-rolling dough as needed. Place cut cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until light brown around the edges, about 15 minutes, making sure to rotate pans halfway through the cooking time. Cool cookies on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
  3. Place remaining sugar in a bowl. Working quickly, spread 1 tsp. jam on the bottom halves of the warm cookies, then press the remaining cookies onto the jam, forming a cookie sandwich. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar to coat. Cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM BRIDGET PETERSON

 

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